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ALBA-eating and food shopping in and around the city

erica Feb 24, 2009 04:55 AM

I will be in Alba in April and in preparation for my trip I am seeking advice on where to eat and where to shop for local food products. So please post your recommendations, with emphasis on trattorie and osterie rather than Michelin-starred restaurants (although I will not rule anything out, I want to concentrate mostly on traditional renditions of local fare)

In Alba, I have these on my tentative list; please comment:

LA PIOLA http://www.piazzaduomoalba.it/pagine/eng/piola/01_territorio.lasso

LA LIBERA http://www.lalibera.com/

ENOCLUB

VIGIN MUDEST

In the region:

I BOLOGNA in Rochetta Tanaro http://www.trattoriaibologna.it/chisiamo.php

CA DEL RE at Castello di Verduno http://www.castellodiverduno.com/ita/ristorazione.asp

LA LUNA NEL POZZO in Neive http://www.lalunanelpozzo-neive.it/ristorante.htm
(This may be too modern/creative for us on this first trip).

LA ROSA ROSSA in Cherasco

And two more in Cherasco, where the local specialty is snails:

http://www.ostosanmartin.it/Osto/Benvenuto.html

http://www.trattoriapaneevino.com/

Food shopping:

CASCINA CORNALE outside Alba
http://cooperativa.cascinacornale.it/...

ALLE DISPENSA DELCONVENTO, Alba

Please add your comments! Thanks!

  1. Villasampaguita Aug 8, 2009 03:02 AM

    Hello everyone, we are new to this forum, we live in Piedmont and have run a successful B&B for 8 years and have guided innummerable guests through the many wonderful restauarants and wineries all over Piedmont, not just in the Alba area.

    I can't really add a lot to the huge list posted in this thread mostly excellent and the original poster has already been and gone, although they re mainly centred around Alba, and please everyone realize that Piedmont's wine country is centred around what I call the 3 "A"s Asti, Alba and Acqui Terme, focussing on one area alone would be like visiting Norcal wine country and only seeing Napa Valley.

    I will quickly add that our personal favourite in Barbaresco is Rabaya, they are not rated so high as Antine in Gambero Rosso, but food is great, service is friendly, wine list extensive, great view and not expensive.

    And sadly we cannot endorse Profumo di Vino in Treiso, after reading many reviews about this new restuarant in Treiso we went to try it and were bitterly disapointed by the food and felt ripped off, we were sorry we didn't go to Ciau del Tornavento in the same town. Too many other good restaurants in Piedmont.

    We are happy to answer any qusetions about Piedmont dining from a local perspective,

    2 Replies
    1. re: Villasampaguita
      CindyJ Aug 11, 2009 07:53 PM

      Are there specific agritourismo properties that you would recommend for dining and lodging in Piedmont? Thanks.

      1. re: CindyJ
        erica Aug 12, 2009 04:25 AM

        We had a very good dinner at Agriturismo Ca de Re in Verduno. I decided to try it after receiving a tip here. Very inexpensive, a choice of about two dishes for each course. Highly recommended if you are seeking a traditional Piemontese home cooked meal. Lovely people. Very attractive dining room with possibility of outdoor diniing in warm wether.

    2. r
      rrems Aug 5, 2009 07:02 PM

      Thanks to Erica and all the other posters for helping me plan my trip. My partner and I will be in Alba for 3 days in late September and I have pretty much worked out the restaurant itinerary. I have one lunch still to be determined (Wednesday) and am trying to decide among La Rosa Rossa, Badellino and Profumo di Vino. The other plans are as follows: Wednesday dinner at Piazza Duomo, Thursday lunch at I Bologna near Asti, Thursday dinner at La Libera, Friday lunch at Eataly in Turin, Friday dinner at Trattoria della Posta. Any comments or suggestions? Also, do I need to reserve more than a week or two in advance for any of these? Thanks very much for any advice.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rrems
        erica Aug 6, 2009 07:48 AM

        Rrems: You are certainly in for some terrific eating. Since I wrote this, I did read a less-than-glowing review of Profumo di Vino on another site, a review that leads me to believe that there menu has changed quite a bit since I was there. And it will surely change again for the fall season. So this is a dilemma..

        Part of the decision comes down to whether or not you want very traditional, or somewhat updated, cuisine. PdV falls into the latter category and I think that Rosa Rossa falls into the former. This is a difficult decision; will location be a factor on that day?

        Since you will be there in what I believe is high season, and also towards the end of the week, I would book at least two weeks out and perhaps even before that, especially for della Posta and the dinner at La Libera. You can book both by e-mail and in my experience, both are quick to respond.

        I will eagerly await details of your exploits!

        1. re: erica
          r
          rrems Aug 6, 2009 08:46 PM

          Thanks, erica. Location does not matter, as we will be driving from Bologna that day, arriving just before lunch, and anything in the vicinity of Alba should be just fine. I think Rosa Rossa is more what I have in mind, as we will be having a more cutting-edge dinner that night I would opt for a more traditional lunch. Badellino has gotten much praise too, so at this point is is between those two.

      2. Maxfood Jun 3, 2009 08:19 AM

        Just in case anyone is thinking of going and still checking this thread... we just got back from that area and had 2 exceptional meals both from places from Erica's list:

        La Piola in Alba. Even though we'd come from Milan and Turin (and Eataly) this was our first Wow! meal, and an example of the height of food that we'd continue to experience the rest of our trip. Just their anti-pasti was enough to bring a tear to our eyes :) The rest of meal was equally good and had us asking, "how do they get so much flavor out of so few ingredients and such simple combinations?" The veal roast I had with lettuce/grape tomato side was great - I do not tend to eat veal in the states so it was a welcome addition and we saw it on most menus.
        I Bologna was our next great meal a few days later - the sense of genuine hospitality late on a Sunday night was refreshing after some of the colder customer service experiences we'd had (Eataly especially). We had their tasting menu and it was hit after hit, their Japanese chef's zen-like attention to detail and presentation applied to local cuisine. We were also invited into the cantina to pick our wine - a simple thing really but just underscored their desire to make us feel like special guests.

         
         
         
         
        1. tupac17616 Apr 16, 2009 08:58 PM

          Oh, I also thought Gener Neuv in Asti was quite good for traditional Piemontese cuisine.
          http://www.alifewortheating.com/italy...

          1. tupac17616 Apr 16, 2009 08:53 PM

            Almost forgot, you might also check out LABORATORIO DI RESISTENZA DOLCIARIA, Via P. Ferrero 11. It's only perhaps a 15-minute walk from the city center, and when I arrived, it looked like nothing. A small, nondescript candy shop perhaps. The pastries mentioned in an old NYT article that mentioned the place seemed to be non-existent. I stepped inside though, and started chatting with the woman working the counter, and eventually, with the owner himself. Federico Molinari knows his food, and knows his wine. He told me all about why the Barolo Chinato wine he uses in his very tasty crema di cioccolato al barolo chinato tastes the way it does. How the climate of the region affects the grapes, how the production process affects the flavor, and how the wine supposedly affects digestion (historically, the wine was used to cure stomach aches). He loves Sicilian desserts, he said, and always has. So he wanted to do something with marzipan, the almond paste so commonly found on that island. Almond don't grow as well in the Piemonte, he said, but hazelnuts, of course, do. He had me sample a wonderful tart he'd made with hazelnut paste and robiola cheese that is traditionally produced all over the region. "The cheese has a natural sweetness...nice, eh?", he smiled. Nice, indeed. I bought a good-sized wedge to share with the folks at dinner that evening, and it received praise all around.

            1. tupac17616 Apr 15, 2009 10:43 PM

              I don't think you should miss Piazza Duomo while in Alba. I went last month, the food is not traditional, but it's light, it's delicious, and the flavors are just so... balanced! I think Enrico Crippa is one of the most talented chefs in Italy.
              I'll also throw Antica Corono Reale "da Renzo" in Cervere into your list of places to consider. Traditional Piemontese cuisine, beautifully done. If you only try carne cruda one time on this trip, this should be it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: tupac17616
                erica Apr 16, 2009 04:17 AM

                Many thanks! Look at the photos of this meal at Da Renzo! It does seem a bit far from Alba, though:

                http://tinyurl.com/c7n3sc

                I have added Piazza Duomo to my list--we still have a few meals free and we should probably try at least one "ristorante" as opposed to the osterie and trattorie that we have already booked..

                Thanks again!

                1. re: erica
                  a
                  allende Apr 16, 2009 11:39 AM

                  Da Renzo is half an hour from Alba. What's the big deal if you will have a wonderful meal.

                  1. re: allende
                    tupac17616 Apr 16, 2009 08:49 PM

                    Allende is right. It's not so bad. And it's no further than Cherasco, closer than Rochetta Tanaro, and not much further than Neive or Castello di Verduno.

              2. l
                lizreedy Apr 10, 2009 02:38 PM

                I had a fabulous meal at VinCafe in Alba a few years ago. In Turin I really like Mina-- old school but really good.

                1. m
                  matabb Mar 5, 2009 11:33 AM

                  My wife and I were in Piedmont last September and loved it. It may be impossible to have a bad meal there. Don't worry about having difficulty finding renditions of local fare, even the Michelin restaurants in that area of Piedmont serve versions of the local fare (albeit with a twist or two).

                  In Alba, we ate at both Enoclub and La Liberia. Both were excellent. If you have to choose one, I would take La Liberia. It's just got a great vibe. We ate there in the middle of the week and everybody who walked in seemed to know everybody else in the place. When it was obvious that two non-Italian speakers were having difficulty with the menu, the chef came over and translated for us. He trained in England, so his English is excellent. He spent lots of time explaining to us, even though he had a kitchen to attend to and a full house to deal with (all of whom seemed to know him).

                  Cherasco is very charming. We stopped for Lunch there on our way to Barolo. We ate at La Torre, which is in the Slow Food Osteria guide (although we didn't know it at the time, we just ate at the first cafe we found.) You have to have at least one snail dish if you are in town. They were delicious. My wife's dish was topped with white truffle. They just slice them until you tell them to stop (of course, you pay for as much as you have them slice). I don't think she'll ever forget it. Just about perfect.

                  I would strongly recommend Prufumo Di Vino in Treiso, near Barbaresco. It's a small informal place in the main square of Treiso (Treiso only has one square), but its fantastic. We were told about it by a Barbaresco winemaker whose estate we were visiting. It's run a pair of expatriates from Baja California and Ireland. But the food is traditional Piemonte. And the pasta is sensational. The two guys who ran the place came to Treiso to work at La Ciau del Tornavento, the other restaurant in Treiso, the one with a Michelin star. We did not eat there, but it is the first place I will book when we return. Everyone we spoke to thought it was superb.

                  Finally, no matter what you are planning, you really have to get at least one (and hopefully more than one) appointment with some of the Piedmont vineyards. It's nothing like Napa or Sonoma, but most of the vineyards will receive guests for touring and tasting if you set it up in advance. In most of the places, especially the smaller ones, the winemaker will be your guide. Most of the places that import will have someone who speaks English. If your local winestore does not have any contacts with any of the Piedmont wineries, talk to one of their distributors; the distributors should definitely know someone who will receive you. The Piedmont wines are some of the best in the world, and there is nothing like drinking them at the cantina.

                  By the way, are you stopping in Turin? You really should, its underrated, and you won't find many Americans. If you do, you'll have to stop at Eataly for food shopping. But that's a whole other story.

                  You should have a great trip.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: matabb
                    erica Mar 5, 2009 01:47 PM

                    Matabb: I am so grateful for your detailed response! I will add Profumo di Vino on my list. Both Enoclub and La Libeeria are closed Sunday night, our first night in Alba. Treiso looks like it is quite close, so perhaps I will plan our very first meal in the area in that town.

                    We will be setting up some winery visits. And from Alba we will move to Turin and spend 3 nights, so please let me know your experiences with eating in that city. I have a lot of names but not many first-hand reports.

                    Many, many thanks!

                    1. re: erica
                      j
                      jinx Mar 5, 2009 07:33 PM

                      Erica (it seems I will be following in your footsteps in May)... I would add to your list Ristorante Antine in Barbaresco (closed Wednesdays). We had an amazing meal there on our last trip (2004)...unfortunately I can't recall precisely what we ate, only that it was one of the best meals of our trip (if not the best!) We also enjoyed La Libera and Osteria dell'Arco in Alba (a Slow Food restaurant.)

                      We also stayed at Villa La Favorita, lovely place with fantastic breakfasts, and Roberta will set up winery visits for you. We had an especially nice visit to Ca'Rome (also in Barbaresco.)

                      1. re: jinx
                        erica Mar 6, 2009 06:12 AM

                        Jinx: I will add Antine to the list. It looks as if we will have to fit in 5 meals a day!

                        Did you find that you could walk from the Villa Favorita into Alba? We might be a little shaky with driving into Alba on our first night, which is a Sunday. If you drove, did you find that it was fairly easy to find parking?

                        I'd better eat those breakfasts early, so I will have room for lunch!

                        1. re: erica
                          j
                          jinx Mar 6, 2009 07:56 PM

                          I definitely would NOT walk into town from Villa Favorita...not that it is very far, but it is a windy road with no shoulder. In fact the entrance into VF is a little hairy even in a car! But, it is just a five minute drive and we never had trouble finding parking, there are plenty of parking areas all around the outskirts (the town is not very large!) and one right as you drive in from VF.

                          Yes you are right, there aren't enough hours in the day to eat as much as we'd like to in Italy :)

                      2. re: erica
                        m
                        matabb Mar 6, 2009 12:54 PM

                        Erica:

                        We only spent two nights in Turin, one of which was a Sunday (and almost nothing was open). The first night we ate at C'era una Volta, which was quite good. Their tasting menu is very reasonable (about 38 euro if I recall, maybe less), and it comes with course after course of food. If I remember correctly there were two antipasto dishes, a primi, a secondi and a desert. All courses were good, so make sure you come hungry.

                        Sunday night we went to Eataly, which is a gas. In addition to all of the food store stuff (and a very reasonable wine cellar), it has something like 9 different food counters, from a pasta bar, to seafood, to meat dishes to desserts. The Torinese don't queue, and since it was one of the few places open on Sunday evenings, getting a table (or a seat at the bar) is quite an adventure. Not for the timid. But the food is good and pretty reasonable. Hey, if you don't like what you're having, you can find somewhere else in the place. They also have a formal sit down restaurant, which requires reservations, but it wasn't open on Sunday.

                        I don't know if Profumo Di Vino will be open on Sunday. Since we weren't in Alba over a weekend, I'm not sure I can help you there.

                        1. re: matabb
                          erica Apr 10, 2009 03:29 AM

                          Profumo di Vino IS open on Sundays, so it will be the site of our first Piemontese meal.

                          Also booked: La Libera; Trattoria della Posta; Ca de Re; (waiting to hear from) Osteria Vignaiolo.

                          We are leaving in 10 days--does anyone have any recent information or tips about eating and food in the area?

                          Many thanks!

                          1. re: erica
                            f
                            fulminating Apr 10, 2009 09:08 AM

                            trattoria della posta in monforte d'alba was my favorite restaurant and i want to rave about it to one and all. highly rated by both gambero rosso (49 cucina in my '07 copy) and michelin (1-star) but an outrageous value at around E45/pp.while it is a bit fancier than a typical trattoria, that's mostly because it's the perfect execution of piedmontese food.

                            della posta was recommended to us by our B&B's owner Giulio (a friend of Lou DiPalo of DiPalo's Cheese in Little Italy, NYC). Giulio begged the owner to squeeze us into a table during the truffle festival and i'm still appreciative 2 1/2 years later! della posta was also, hands down, the best place for white truffles during my month long visit (i had 4 white truffle meals in italy over a month). finally, i thought that it was better than da cesare (jeffery steingarten called da cesare one of the ten best restaurants in the world)--even though da cesare was the original reason why i came to piedmonte.

                            as for piola, i didn't try but i did eat at its sister/flagship restaurant piazza duomo. at piazza dumo, i bought a whole white truffle and had it served with my meal. unfortunately, the white truffle had almost no flavor (esp. compared to my subsequent blizzard of truffles at della posta) but that was the only (but expensive!) drawback. the rest of the food was fantastic though probably more modern than your preference. to put in nyc terms, it's more upscale and inventive like per se than classic like a voce or lupa.

                            1. re: fulminating
                              erica Apr 10, 2009 11:26 AM

                              Thanks! I am So excited! I made a lunch booking at Della Posta and didi not book for dinner that night, in anticipation of a long, great meal!! No truffles now, though, unfortunately..

                              1. re: erica
                                f
                                fulminating Apr 10, 2009 12:21 PM

                                i'm quite envious of you! i believe they offer a tasting menu, but in case they don't or you don't feel like it, classic dishes include:

                                antipasti: carne crudo (veal tartare; flavorful but lighter than the french version), bagna cauda (veg crudite with hot anchovy dipping sauce);

                                primi (pastas): tajarin (their version of talignoni) and agnolotti stuff with cheese.

                                secondi: braised or fried meats are classics. i had an excellent goose leg with foie gras.

                                those were what i ordered and they were amazing.

                                i now remember in hindsight that i was stuff going into della posta bc i had gone to piazza duomo for lunch! you will probably come out absolutely stuffed!

                                this link has pics and a good description of the food:
                                http://augieland.blogs.com/augie_land...

                                i've also insert a snapshot of the agnolotti with the tartufi bianco. sorry you won't be able to try it!

                                 
                                1. re: fulminating
                                  erica Apr 10, 2009 01:57 PM

                                  I saw a photo of the goose here:

                                  http://www.gastroville.com/archives/i...

                                  I want that. I want to try everything!!!!!!!

                                  Did you love the carne cruda? I just looked at the menu-I am in trouble! Foie Gras with moscato gelee! I've never tried bagna cauda--should I try it there?

                                  1. re: erica
                                    f
                                    fulminating Apr 10, 2009 05:35 PM

                                    wrt carne crudo: i really enjoyed and it according to my notes: "with parmagiano-reggiano cheese. veal - very tender and flavorful. lighter than steak tartare yet very tasty." so yes, i thought that it was great.

                                    i also remember liking the tajarin A LOT. actually, the tajarin were generally better than the fettucine al ragu i had throughout emilia-romagna, so definitely make sure to eat it everywhere. it's similar to a fresh egg pasta version of capellini (angel hair). the agnolotti del plin were good but not as good as the tajarin.

                                    and yes, bagna cauda is a great dish. no place in nyc has come close to reproducing it in piedmonte. but, at the end of the day, it's still just crudite in hot anchovy dipping sauce, like is an nyc dirty water hot dog worth eating? it's classic and representative of the neighborhood, but is it transcendant? hmm.... i think the menu, including the bagna cauda and carne crudo, was was a pretty good way to sample classic piedmontese food though I did not get a chance to try famous onion dish (darn).

                                    i did eat at a very mediocre agriturismo in piedmonte and the difference in quality between it and della posta was staggering. equivalent to italian food in boston versus italian food in nyc!

                                    della posta also has a ridiculous cheese selection. i had the famous castelmagno cheese (a piedmontese staple) but truth be told, i still prefer a good parmagiano or pecorino or even piave over it.

                                    for your reference, here're pics of the bagna cauda, carne cruda, the goose leg, and of the cheese cart.

                                    fyi, the goat really was great at da cesare. my only food regret in piedmonte was not getting to try guido and or osteria del boccondivo in bra (3 forks and 90 and 3 shrimp, respectively, in gambero rosso).

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: fulminating
                                      erica Apr 11, 2009 03:44 AM

                                      Excellent information! I like the bagna cauda in the pepper!

                                      Many thanks for al of the detailed information. If the tajarin is better than the pasta in Bologna, I am in deep trouble!

                                      I am thinking perhaps I should not waste a course at della Posta with the bagna cauda but try that in another place so I can sample other delights on their menu. That cheese display IS ridiculous (ly amazing!!)

                                      Please tell me where you had the the mediocre meal--not at Ca de Re, I hope, because I booked there..

                                      Many thanks, again, for taking the time to respond!

                                      1. re: erica
                                        f
                                        fulminating Apr 11, 2009 08:37 AM

                                        yeah, the tajarin were pretty impressive. the only places in e-r that i liked better in comparison were caminetto d'oro and osteria francescana with caminetto d'oro, the best fettucine al ragu i've ever had.

                                        oh i don't even remember the mediocre meal's name any more--just an agriturismo in piedmonte; it definitely was not ca de re. it was just a meal we had late at night at our b&b on the way from parma. that was the only restaurant that we didn't specifically research beforehand via chowhound / plotkin / gambero russo etc.

                            2. re: erica
                              erica Apr 23, 2009 01:18 AM

                              I will do a report when I return home, but just want to let anyone bound for this area that all of the places I mention in the 4.10.09 post above are excellent! Profumo di Vino was a great tip, Matabb!!! After 4 days of heavy eating I do not think we had one dish that was anything less than excellent! More soon...

                              1. re: erica
                                j
                                jinx Apr 23, 2009 01:35 PM

                                I look forward to your report Erica! We leave in 10 days! How was Trattoria della Posta? I just made a lunch reservation there...

                                1. re: jinx
                                  erica Apr 27, 2009 03:24 AM

                                  Jinx: Fabulous! Honestly, having just returned I would say that the only "problem" we had was that, with only 5 days in the Langhe, there was barely enough time to scratch the surface on the Chow front.

                                  Della Posta was one of our favorites in a week of amazing eating.. I will post the details once I get settled back home..hopefully this week. Meanwhile feel free to ask any and all food-related questions!

                                  1. re: erica
                                    j
                                    jinx Apr 27, 2009 08:54 PM

                                    Welcome back! I look forward to a full report, we still have a week before we go. I am wondering where you ended up eating in Turin?? We are actually staying in the Acqui Terme area and I am not making many other reservations before we arrive--one thing I've learned is that in Italy its not really difficult to get a reservation a day or two before, or even that very day, even for some of the top restaurants--at least when its not truffle season, lol. As we will be staying fairly remote in the countryside, we will mostly rely on our host's recommendations for local trattorias etc. But we'll have a couple of blow-out meals, probably I Caffi in Acqui Terme and of course, Della Posta. And your suggestion of Nonna Nina in Camogli for another lunch. We have one night in Turin and would love a suggestion there--

                                    1. re: jinx
                                      erica Apr 28, 2009 03:09 AM

                                      Hi Jinx! We had two dinners in Turin: Sotto Le Mole and Antiche Sera. I will write a full report hopefully before you leave, but for now, I will give you a few thoughts: Both of these restaurants are excellent and you cannot fault the food at either. Antiche Sera (cash only) has a fairly limited hand-written menu with about 5 choices for each course. The cooking is strictly traditional Piemontese, which means that you will have (or we had) seen the same dishes on many menus. It was asparagus season so one pasta and one main featured this vegetable. It is a simple, no frills place with exceptionally friendly staff. But then, the staff at everyplace we ate was remarkably welcoming--even more so than in any other region of Italy I'd visited, I think.

                                      For that reason, because we had been eating these same dishes most of the week, I think I would give the edge to Sotto le Mole, only because they had slightly more variety on their menu. (I believe you could call Sotto Le Mole "modern Piemontese"; all the usual suspect plus a few tweaked ones on their menu) Sotto le Mole also has the advantage of being directly across the street from the surreal Mole Antoniella, with the famous elevator and cinema museum.

                                      see menu:

                                      http://www.sottolamole.eu/Italiano/menu/menu.htm

                                      But with only one night in Turin and after arriving from AT, where I believe the cooking is Ligurian influenced, you will not mind the purely traditional menu at Antiche Sera. AS is a bit out of the center and requires a taxi ride; we paid 13 euros going and 11 on the return, to our hotel (Sitea) in the center. We were there on a weekend and watched many hopeful diners without reservations being turned away at both places, so do book a day or so out if there on a weekend.

                                      Turin is lovely and the city center is surprisngly small and very easy to navigate on foot. I recommend the TINY cafe Al Bicerin, for their celebrated "bicerin" drink; this is in the NW corner of the city center.

                                      http://www.bicerin.it/eng/

                                      Please feel free to ask anything and everything, in case you are due to leave before I can do the report..

                                      1. re: erica
                                        j
                                        jinx Apr 28, 2009 09:31 AM

                                        thanks Erica, this is great info, in fact Sotto la Mole and Antiche Sere were on my short list for Turin. The edge was to Sotto la Mole mainly because it is walkable from our hotel, and with your description I'm definitely leaning towards it. We'll be in Turin on a Wednesday so I'll call a day or two before. Unfortunately Al Bicerin is closed on Wednesdays, but we'll try to hit it on Thursday morning.

                                        Did you go to Eataly? Trying to decide if its worth taking time from exploring Turin, since we only have a day and a half there...

                                        1. re: jinx
                                          erica Apr 28, 2009 10:26 AM

                                          Jinx: We had almost two full days and thought that that was a good amount of time for an overview, plus a visit to Eatitaly and the cinema museum and a lot of cafe hopping. The city center is small.

                                          Do not worry if Al Bicerin is closed, as Turin is filled with gorgeous and atmospheric cafes. (If you do get to Al Bicerin, stop in to the church across from the cafe and look at the chapel with the plaques commemorating recovery from illnesses and accidents)

                                          Even with the short amount of time, we visited these cafes; each one is beautiful and worth a stop:

                                          Caffe Torino http://www.caffe-torino.it/

                                          Caffe Platti (west of train station

                                          )

                                          Baratti & Milano (Pza Castello, 27, under the arches south of the castle; I am a big fan of their hard candies, especially the "1800 flavors")--you need to stop in here and have a look even if you do not plan to eat anything.

                                          I think Sotto Le Mole is a good choice.

                                          1. re: erica
                                            j
                                            jinx Apr 29, 2009 07:09 AM

                                            awesome, I am taking notes. Since Turin is our last big stop before heading home we plan to do our bring-home treat shopping there---chocolate and candies for sure!

                      3. d
                        DavidT Feb 24, 2009 02:05 PM

                        I would definitely recommend a visit to Cherasco. It is a charming town. La Rosa Rossa is a very good local osteria. There is also a chocolate shop there that makes the most delicious roasted hazelnuts covered in dark chocolate.

                        The brochures available in the tourist offices in Alba and elsewhere in the PIemonte are the best I have seen in Italy. There are several that cover the foods and wines of the region. Be sure to pick up the one that lists which towns have food markets on which days. Try to visit Bra on market day. I would also recommend dining at Boccadavino in Bra, the restaurant sponsored by Slow Food.

                        One of the best places to taste a variety of wines is the regional enoteca in the castle at Grinzane Cavour.

                        http://www.travelandleisure.com/artic...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: DavidT
                          erica Feb 25, 2009 04:10 AM

                          Many thanks! David: Cherasco looks gorgeous and I did consider staying there but opted, in the end, for a B&B outside Alba, Villa Favorita. But I will certainly allot time to visit Cherasco and to have lunch at La Rosa Rossa.

                          We will probably have time to visit Bra--with my poor Italian skills, I am not sure that I am reading correctly but I think that the main food market day is Saturday and that there is a big general market on Fridays and a smaller one on Wednesdays.
                          http://comune.bra.cn.it/cittadini/fie...

                          1. re: erica
                            d
                            DavidT Feb 25, 2009 05:03 AM

                            My Italian is certainly no better than yours. The tourist brochures I mentioned should all be available in English. The brochure for the food markets of Piemonte will have all details. I imagine the markets in each town are pretty similar, as many of the same vendors travel from town to town over the course of the week.

                            1. re: DavidT
                              erica Feb 25, 2009 07:22 AM

                              Thanks again. Did you sample the snails in Cherasco? I've had never thought of snail dishes in Italy untill I read about the town!

                              1. re: erica
                                d
                                DavidT Feb 25, 2009 08:21 AM

                                No snails for me! There is an osteria in Cherasco called La Lumaca (the snail).

                                http://www.albain.com/lalumaca/index.asp

                          2. re: DavidT
                            a
                            alanf Jun 1, 2009 02:29 PM

                            I recently returned from a week-long road trip through Piedmont with a 2 night stay in Bra. We did eat at Boccadavino one night, which was very good. But the real standout for us in Bra was Badellino--absolutely delicious.

                            http://www.ristorantealbergobadellino...

                          3. foodinrome Feb 24, 2009 06:01 AM

                            You should definitely try Osteria Dei Sognatori. Via Macrino, 8. It's a fantastic place

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